Liverpool’s men and women’s football teams could not be in more contrasting situations. On one hand you have the men side, on the brink of their first Premier League title since Kenny Dalglish’s team clinched the championship in 1989/90.
While the men’s team are certainly on the way up, the same cannot be said of the women’s side, who learned yesterday that they will relegated from the Women Super League.
Liverpool Women’s club were bottom in the WSL having only managed six points before the FA had decided this week to call the season to a halt. They were one point behind Birmingham, who had a game in hand and three points behind Bristol City.
Having chosen to use the Points Per Game system, however, the two time WSL Champions ultimately ended up with an average of 0.43 points per game, just 0.11 fewer than Birmingham.
Following the FA’s decision Liverpool Women’s Manager Vicky Jepson said:
“For me as the Manager it’s important that I reach out to the Liverpool fans and we need them more than ever to stick by our players because I have spoken to our girls today and they were extremely heartbroken by the decision and shocked as well as I am.
“It’s something we can’t control but what we can control is how we react to this outcome. We’ve got to react in the best way possible and that is how we prepare in our pre-season and how we perform on the pitch next season.”
Aston Villa, who were six points clear of Sheffield United at the top of the Championship were subsequently declared Champions and will replace the Reds in next season’s top flight division.
At the other end of the table meanwhile Chelsea were declared league champions ahead of Manchester City, despite the Blues sitting a point behind the Manchester club they crucially had a game in hand on their title rivals before the season ended prematurely.
On being announced champions Chelsea Women Manager Emma Hayes said:
“Of course we would have preferred to play the remaining games, but players’ welfare was always our priority, and finishing the season was ultimately not possible. We have to respect the decision of the FA, clubs and people involved in the game who have decided this was the best and fairest outcome.
“I also want to congratulate Manchester City and Arsenal on wonderful seasons. The title-race was shaping up to be one of the best this country has ever witnessed and we look forward to competing again when WSL resumes.
“To our fans, I’m sorry we can’t celebrate with you but we will hopefully see you soon at Kingsmeadow.”
The new campaign is currently set to begin in September, however, FA Director Kelly Simmons has already had to deal with wide spread frustration that the Barclays Women Super League did not follow the example of the Frauen Bundesliga restart and the NWSL in the USA. She explained:
“The season ending early gives us the time to plan to come back bigger and better for the 2020-21 season, and we are determined to ensure we don’t lose the momentum generated before the country went into lockdown.
“The Barclays FA Women’s Super League is the only fully professional women’s league in Europe, and we are incredibly proud of how far it has come on, but we have to remember that it has only been professional for two seasons.”
Following all the momentum that women’s football has built up in this country the past few years, the agonising prospect of not having the WSL and the Championship on our screens until September means that it will be the best part of six months before the sport returns to the public eye. Unfortunately this may inevitability mean having to build up people’s interest in the game again.